Saturday, 25 September 2021

Friday, 10 September 2021

YNU Zoom Chat Meetings

The YNU Zoom Chat meetings took place every fortnight in Spring early summer 2021. They had a break over summer

WE WILL RESUME MONTHLY on the First Friday of Each Month:
(i.e. 1 Oct, 5 Nov and 3 Dec 2021)
(Note there will also be three Long YNU  Zoom Speaker Meetings at dates in between)

Friday 1st October 2021: 7.30pm: 

This Meeting will also act as a Natural Sciences Forum Meeting.
A) Bring pictures of special Animals/Plants/ Fungi you have seen over summer to share
B) Bring ideas about what you think the YNU should/could be doing
C) Bring stories of what your Local Natural History Society has been doing.
(If you want to guarantee a slot to talk for more than 2 or 3 minutes, it would be good to email me first)

The link for this meeting is:

After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting. (If you register at 7.00pm on the meeting evening you should just get put straight through, )

The meeting includes an opportunity to meet each other from across Yorkshire in small groups (breakout groups)  and to raise other topics

If you would like to give a four to ten minutes talk at a future Chat event (even if you haven't been to a meeting before) - please contact me -  


The YNU holds two types of Zoom meetings:  Speaker Meetings and Chat Meetings:

1. Zoom Speaker Meetings 

Over Autumn and winter The YNU is holding Zoom Speaker Meetings about once a month. The latest one was  by Louise Hill on Lindholme and the Fire on Hatfield Moor 15th April Visit the YNU website where there will shortly be a link so that you can, for a month,  watch this excellent talk.

There will be a break over summer till the next season of Speaker Meetings

2. YNU Zoom Chat Meetings

These include three to four  short (4-5 minute) talks and also the opportunity to meet members from across Yorkshire in small groups (breakout groups)

The first Zoom Chat meeting was held on 26 Feb 2021 :Members attended - from Sheffield to Croft (near Darlington) - from Scarborough to Settle. From Pocklington to Barnsley.  We had talks on Moths, St Kilda, Microscopic Freshwater Life and more. 

The second was held on 12 March 2021: Talks were given on: Freshwater life under the high power microscope (videos); Four Ferns in Four Minutes; The history of the YNU in 10 minutes; and a talk on Wild Orchid Propagation.

The third one on Friday 26 March presented talks on Blowwells and Bryozoa, Gooseberries in hedgerows, Accessing previous editions of the Naturalist online  and hibernating bats.

The fourth one on 9 April included talks on Plant Galls, Fossils (by a 12 year old) Bee-flies and Pillwort in Yorkshire.

 The fifth one was held on 23 April
It included talks on:
  • Sawflies
  • Pasque flower in East Yorkshire and the project on ex-situ propagation
  • Wild Tulips in Yorkshire

  They are open to members of the YNU and members of affiliated societies.  They start at 7.30pm (doors open at 7.15).

Tethredo vespa


Athalia rosea - Turnip Sawfly

The sixth one 7 May featured a talk on

  • Moonwort and Adders-tongue in Yorkshire by by Barry White.
The seventh on 21 May featured:
The Meadow Cranesbill-Weevil - Please all YNU members lookout for it next month (late June- July) and send us your records
Pictures from the YNU Bryological section visit to Scoska Wiid, Littondale on 8 May this year. Yorkshire's Celtic (ish) rainforest!

The eighth meeting on Fri 4 June featured Roy Crossley (A former president of the YNU) on Dolichopodidae - Longlegged Flies in a short talk.

Antennaria dioica
The 9th Zoom chat Meeting was held on Fri 18 June and featured:
Falgunee Sakar (Fal) on 
1. Conservation of Mountain Everlasting Flower in Upper Teesdale
Fal on 
YNU Duncombe Park
2. Worshipping Trees in India
Judith Allinson- 
3. Photos from the YNU Trip to Duncolme Park, Helmsley last week

The tenth YNU Zoom Chat Meeting was held on 2nd July and featured:-
1. The Wild Ingleborough Project by Paul Brady - 
2. Meadow Cranesbill Weevil part 2. by Robert Hall

Paul Brady has recently started (along with 3 colleagues) working on the Wild Ingleborough Project based out of Selside and says: "The project aims to have a continuous piece of land (over 1000ha) from the River Ribble up to the summit that is enhanced for wildlife, increasing biodiversity, improving soil, air and water quality.  We hope to connect people to this landscape, improve access and enhance people's understanding of the work we are doing.

More information can be found here - Wild Ingleborough: a vision for the future | Yorkshire Wildlife Trust ( 


Afraid of using Zoom? 

Some of you might like to have a practice using Zoom before the meeting and to have a go at "Share Screen" and learn what more of the buttons do in Zoom.  I (Judith) am very happy to hold practice sessions first with members who would like to have one. 

Example YNU Zoom Chat Programme  (But half an hour earlier than this on 2 July.)

7.15: "Assemble"  - i.e. 6.45 

7.30: Official start

7.35: Breakout Groups: we will divide into groups according to interest this evening: 1) Birds, 2) Higher Plants,  4) Insects  5) mammals other suggestions? contact me.

7 45: One planned short talk of 4 to 8 min each plus 5 min each for discussion

8:00 Chat and Pictures

8.35: Coffee Break

8.45: Announcements

8.50: More discussion/ Photos by anyone else

9:00: Plan the next event.

9:15: Finish

For more details contact

Saturday, 4 September 2021

Walk and Pray for the Climate - Environment - Creationtide- 1 September 2021 - Settle - Whelpstone Crag

 Churches Together in Settle run a "Walk and Pray for the Climate" on the First Day of the Month. We use material prepared by the website "Pray and Fast for the climate". - They also have some excellent material for use at a vigil for COP26

1st September is also the beginning of Creationtide.

For the sake of context and history:

5 Sept - is "Climate Sunday." We are having a special Service at St John's Church Settle - I with four others are leading that. Then after the service I hope to get on the Settle Carlisle train and go to Glasgow for THE National Climate Sunday Service to be held at Glasgow Cathedral at 4pm the same day!!

Back to our trip to Whelpstone

We pile into two cars at 5pm  and drive  5 miles west from Settle, through Rathmell and up to the end of the road at the foot of Whelpstone Crag at the border with Lancashire. Here we leave the cars (at 303m above sea level) - pleased to have met the farmer on a quad bike as we left the cars.  We walk to the two peaks of the crag at 362m (NE) and 371m. (SW)... So total height climbed = 70m. and total distance there and back 2 miles.

On the first summit  - NE end of the Crag, looking SW to the Trig point (centre) on the main summit
. The geology is gritstone and there is acid grassland. If one carried on in a straight line past the trig point from here we would eventually get to Stocks Reservoir and Slaidburn.

At the trigpoint on the main summit

THis walk was on 1 sept, but I had come up the previous evening to check access etc, and I include a few photos from that evening too.
Some ecological reflections: The land to the north and east is very beautiful and is treeless - as would the land to the south and west before the Sitka spruce plantations were planted round Stocks Reservoir. Yet the natural vegetation - pre sheep and rabbits - would be woodland
I did not see much (any) sign of heather  - maybe an indication of more intensive grazing in the past. A few flatter areas had peaty boggy ground. In one spot I was delighted to find Cranberry leaves.
Acid grassland and Peaty areas are good for storing carbon in the soil, though it only accumulates slowly.

I hear  ravens near the NE peak when we are descending.  
The previous evening at the 2nd gate on the way down I had seen a medium sized flock of lapwings.

View back to the first summit (actually taken the previous evening when I came on a recce) In the distance Penyghent (left) and Fountains Fell (right)
We read the introduction about Creationtide from the Prayer and Fast for the Climate Sheet.

From this same vantage point as above, I turn round and look down to see two cyclists on a trail in Gisburn Forest.

The cycle tracks are much appreciated by many cyclists.

A friend, Clarice Howorth, nee Garnet (now deceased) told me how when she was young all this land was farmland and that there had bee a strong farming community of the separate farms linked to the farms round Rathmell, and roads across.

Now it is forest.

I play a tune on the summit

View of the two peaks of Whelpstone Crag from the Cycle trail (North one on the left, trigpoint one much closer on the right), with Sitka Spruce in the foreground and a hazy Ingleborough in the far background
Same view as above - telephoto

A few of the lichens that I found below the NE summit - the rocks on the right above:

Fuscidea cyathoides - chocolaty brown

Hypogymnia physodes

Any suggestions please: :

And a wildflower at a gateway on the cart track as we leave the moorland and the vegetation  becomes grassland: Gnaphalium uliginosum - Marsh Cudweed 

If you would like to join us on 1 October do email

Monday, 30 August 2021

Speakers Clubs in the Yorks Dales, Yorkshire and North East of England - Tips, Confidence, Practice, Experiment and Fun in Public Speaking - Meeting Times

Do you need confidence building, a little bit of advice, encouragement and skilled feedback? 

Five clubs meet in the Dales area:
 Skipton, Bradford, Shipley,
Halifax, & Otley

Three clubs meet in the Vale of York area: 

 Wetherby & York & Sheffield
                         once a fortnight or once a month. 

Two Clubs meet in the North East of England:
Newcastle & Tyneside

The Clubs have been meeting by Zoom, due to Covid19,
but now (Aug 2021) most clubs are reassembling planning to meet live sooner of later...  Keep scrolling down to find the meeting times and locations.

Why you should Join a Speakers Club:

  • Tongue-tied and frightened to speak? 
  • Experienced, but want to get better?
  • A wedding, a new job, a school presentation demands a speech?
    We can help!

Our clubs are good value and greatly cheaper than attending a commercial speakers' course which could easily cost 
£800  or more.

We offer what you need:
practice, motivation, feedback, encouragement, fun & practice, the chance to experiment.. and did I say, practice?
Enquiries AND MORE FUN And Friendship!
If you are shy, you are very welcome just to sit and listen.
All clubs welcome new members.
And for those who relish a challenge
... occasional interclub competitions
... the chance to help others in their journey
... the chance to analyse and experiment with one's own speeches.

Dales Area:

Skipton: Craven Speakers Club
 Autumn 2021 programme:-
Mon Sept: 6  by Zoom - contact 
Then Live at The Soroptimists, Skipton:
Oct: 4
Nov: 1, & 29 Dec: 14

Mondays: 7.30pm - 9pm
Four weekly Monday evening 7.30pm:
Normal Venue:- The Soroptimists,
28 Otley Street, Skipton, BD23 1EW

Other clubs - Please visit their websites to see the arrangements for Autumn 2021

Bradford Club meets at Baildon Old Hall Club, Hallfield Drive, BD17 6NH and meets the second and fourth Wednesday each month at 7.30pm (currently by zoom - Aug 2021)

Baildon and Shipley:
Second Tuesday of the month all year
Tue 14 Sept 2021 - 
Bradford New Church, Ashfield Avenue, Frizinghall, Bradford, BD18 3AL  Contact
Sep 2021: Now Live meetings - The audience members wear a facemask 

Halifax and Huddersfield
Meetings are held on the 1st and 3rd Tuesday of each month from September to June (inclusive) at 7.45pm at Halifax Town Hall, Committee Room A. Crossley Street, Halifax
, HX1 1UJ  Contact
Wharfedale Speakers Club: 

Wharfedale - Otley  1st & 3rd Wednesday 20:00 Grove Hill Club, Ilkley Rd, Otley LS21 3JR Contact or 
Try phoning    0113 2685289 (B.P)  

Wetherby 1st,3rd,5th Thursday 20:00 Linton Memorial Hall, Linton Lane, Linton, Wetherby LS22 4HL


Vale of York Area of the Eastern Area

York Speakers Club:

York RI Bowls Club, Ashton Lane, Holgate, York, YO24 4HX
Phone: 01904 270300
York Speakers Club is currently meeting by Zoom according to their website Aug 2021


1st,3rd,5th Thursday 20:00 Linton Memorial Hall, Linton Lane, Linton, Wetherby LS22 4HL Wetherby Speakers Club meets on the first and third (and fifth) Thursdays from September until May at Linton Memorial Hall on Linton Lane, Linton, Wetherby LS22 4HL.
Meetings commence at 7.45 for 8.00 pm and finish at approximately 10.00 pm. Contact
This club is meeting and has an up to date website!! (Sept 2021)

Sheffield Speakers:
second Tuesday of each month. Come along and have 3 free session. After that if you wish to join the membership fee is £3.50 a month payable by direct debit.

2nd Tuesday 19:45 "St Timothy's Community Hall 
136 Slinn St, Crookes, Sheffield S10 1NZ"  Contact
Sept 2021: Sheffield Speakers Club is currently meeting by Zoom

North East:  (The Yorkshire Speakers Clubs and Speakers from Durham and Northumberland work together as "The Eastern Region of the Association of Speakers Clubs")

Newcastle Variable frequency Tuesday 19:30 by Zoom

Tyneside -  Variable date and frequency - Comrades Club, 14 The Links, Whitley Bay NE26 1PS.


Association of Speakers Clubs.

Monday, 2 August 2021

Walk and Pray for the Environment / Climate: 1 August 2021

The next meeting will be - Meet at 5pm at Settle Swimming Pool Car Park 

Churches Together in Settle run a "Walk and Pray for the Climate" on the First Day of the Month. We use material prepared by the website "Pray and Fast for the climate". 

Today on 1 August we join Horton in Ribblesdale Church who go on a walk on a Sunday near 5 August each year as part of the Feast of St Oswald. It is 3 miles Long:  - up on the hillside on the east side of the village, across the River Ribble then back by the flat of the Ribble on the west side of the village.

1.1 km Above Brants Gill


First Reading of Prayers
 - on the Pennine Way Footpath
and the Ribble Way

Second reading - down at Horton near the Crown Hotel (2km, 1.2mi)

2.3km beside the river -this spot is good botanically with


and Harebell

We follow the river down

.. to the bridge 3.7km 
Scenic view with Penyghent in the distance.
Note the Ash tree on the right is suffering from Ash Die-back

Ah - this yellow lichen on the wall as we approach the village
 and church is not the usual
Xanthoria parietina - It is Xanthoria calcilola

Xanthoria calcicola  This has lots of little lumps all over it and very few/no apothecia

We have been collecting litter en route

And put it in the bin ready
 for the dustbin men

4.8km 3 miles - Final reading - A happier paragraph on Butterflies - though at 4pm 
we do not see any live ones
where we are eating our
well deserved refreshments. 
 The Big Butterfly count lasts from 16th July to the 8th August.

The next Walk and Pray for the Environment walk is Wed 1 Sept

10  Environment Reflections:


It is 92 days till the COP26 talks start.

BUT IT IS NOW that preparations are being made - We must all encourage our politicians to act NOW


I wonder if "Going on a jolly environment walk" will seem a bit trite when reading this blog in five or ten years time when climate change is impinging on the world at a colossally increased rate.
Should we ALL be spending more time campaigning now?


We noticed the helicopter flying on the side of Penyghent. - Not rescuing someone, but delivering materials - they are improving the path up Penyghent - Thank to our National Park provision is made for walkers and people to enjoy the countryside - just as today we walked along the Ribble way and over the footbridge repaired after ??? climate change induced floods washed it away a few years ago


One lady on the walk told me when she had grown up on a farm, and attended school in Chapel le Dale  (?70 years ago?) they had made pressed flower collections at school - and there were lots of flowers in the fields then. But intense application of fertiliser and manure meant that most of the wildflowers stopped growing in the fields.


We only collected three dog poo bags with dog poo in the litter collected on the way round - but it is so sad that there any any left.

6. TREES v Grassland  (Natural vegetation and carbon storage discussion)

We looked across to South House Moor on the side of Ingleborough. This is an area or moorland under an experiment that has been left ungrazed for over 17 years.

The natural vegetation of Ribblesdale (except  on the wettest peat bogs)  without humans and their sheep and rabbits -is trees, but there are only a small amount of trees here now. - yet the beauty of this area is contributed to by being able to see the shape of the ground and landscape. The grassland in places still has rare plants and special flora

CERTAIN TYPES of soil can store more an more carbon each year. But only certain types.

ACID grassland soils can store carbon (The extreme example being peat). 

Sometimes trees are planted under the assumption that carbon will be stored in the trees and removed from the air. Breaking up the soil and making drainage ditches to plant trees results in carbon in humus in the soil being broken down by bacteria - so that less carbon is stored in the system. It is a complex system.

7. Hard life for farmers

with the present grant system changing.
I did notice two new Pods and Glamping sites on the way round.


I am glad for the opportunity for us to share our knowledge of the countryside and farming

9.  Space

The next Walk and Pray for the Climate walk will be on Wed 1 Sept - It may be a late teatime/early evening walk - look out for news at the end of August.

Thursday, 29 July 2021

Walk and Pray for the Environment: 1 July 2021

1 July 2021's "Walk and Pray for the Climate" event took us to Ashes Pasture.

This is a Yorkshire Wildlife Trust Reserve near the head of Ribblesdale

We used prayers for 1 July from  the site Pray and Fast for the Climate 

At the Entrance

Yes- It's Fragrant Orchid

Looking for "Meadow Crane's-bill Weevil" on Wood-Crane's-bill

Meadow Crane's-bill Weevil on Wood-Crane's-bill

Meadow Crane's-bill Weevil on Wood-Crane's-bill

Inside the old barn

Ragged Robin

Wood Horsetail

The Event on 1 August will be a joint event with St Oswald's Church, Horton in Ribblesdale - It is Part of St Oswald's Festival starting at 2pm - It will involve some brisk walking to get round the 3 plus mile walk to get back in time for tea (bring your own sandwiches) at the church at 4pm. St Oswald's Day is actually 5 August.